Bookshelf Snooping

Book Riot contributor Wallace Yovetich’s recent post “Celebrity Bookshelf Snooping Wishlist” inspired me this week to think about whose bookshelves I most want to sneak a peek at.

I always bookshelf snoop when I visit someone’s house for the first time (completely essential in the home of a potential significant other – if they don’t have books it’s a huge red flag). I’m easily won over by shelves filled with Young Adult Literature, Sci-Fi/Fantasy (bonus points for titles that are widely considered to be nerdy), and short stories. When I consider which famous persons’ bookshelves I’d like to see, I mainly come up with individuals who may enjoy similar titles to the ones I read — people whose shelves would be filled with good recommendations, or with books I already love which, in my imagination, they would be eager to discuss with me. These individuals are as follows:


Neil Gaiman

Viewing Neil Gaiman’s bookshelves would be intimidating in part simply because of his fantasy novelist rock star status and in part because it would likely mean having to admit that I haven’t read even half of his books yet. Still, I’m betting his shelves would be one of the best sources for inspiration regarding the fantastic and mythological.

lena mindy

Lena Dunham and Mindy Kaling

These choices feel a little like they should come with Will Ferrell leaning into frame and saying “She’s so hot right now,” but, well…


Joan Didion

Due to her intelligence and work background, Didion’s collection would surely reveal an incredible and fascinating breadth.

Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki

Judging by his films, I imagine Miyazaki’s bookshelves would hold an impressive array of fantasy, folklore and graphic artists. I’d love to know more about his inspirations.


Emma Thompson

Something that’s always appealed to me about Emma Thompson’s acting is the way her intelligence carries through in every character. I suspect her bookshelves would be more ‘intellectual’ than my own and that suspicion is enough to spark my learning curiosity.

eo wilson

E.O. Wilson

In addition to having written many wonderful books related to biology/ecology, Wilson (based on which titles he blurbs) seems to also be aware of many of the best up-and-coming works of popular science. Likewise, I wouldn’t mind a look at David Attenborough’s shelves.

karen russell

Karen Russell

Having recently read both of Russell’s short story collections, I’d love to know what authors she reads — a case of muse voyeurism.

black books

Dylan Moran

Ever since Black Books, I’ve just wondered what he actually reads.

tina fey

Tina Fey

If there were no Star Wars titles, I have to admit, I would be disappointed.

john green

John Green

Thanks to his video blog, a tour of Young Adult author John Green’s library (albeit in 2007) is already a reality. What I like about this video is its demonstration that the books we imagine someone will own (tons of Young Adult Literature and possibly books about grief and/or child prodigies) are not always the books their collections actually favour.

Liz Gillett


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